Mortgage And Real Estate News

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Decline for Eighth Month - Bloomberg

Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell in February for an eighth straight month, a sign of further weakness in the industry.

The index of pending home sales decreased 0.8 percent after a 0.2 percent drop the prior month that was previously reported as a gain, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 39 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.2 percent rise.

Read more...Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Decline for Eighth Month - Bloomberg

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Greasewood Flat to be relocated on Cavalliere property

Greasewood Flat, a popular Western-themed restaurant in north Scottsdale, will be relocated and reopened under a deal between the owners, the Cavalliere family, and Taylor Morrison Homes, which purchased the land the restaurant currently occupies in November.

The transaction involves Taylor Morrison developing not only the 42-acre tract at Alma School Parkway and Pinnacle Vista Drive, where Greasewood now sits, but also 80 acres of land the family owns to the east. The Cavalliere family would retain 40 acres of the eastern parcel for the new restaurant and several homes.

Read more...Greasewood Flat to be relocated on Cavalliere property

Downtown Scottsdale eyesore may finally be rebuilt

Delux Scottsdale

Downtown Scottsdale finally may see the redevelopment of arguably its biggest eyesore this coming fall.

A partially demolished building near Scottsdale and Camelback roads has sat dormant for the past seven years on the northeastern corner of Scottsdale and Shoeman Lane.

CF Waterfront Investments LLC owns the building, at 4443 N. Scottsdale Road, and another property approximately 130 feet east of it that was to be the site of architect Will Bruder’s Upton condominium complex. CF Waterfront also owns the Petite Maison restaurant property next door.

Read more...Downtown Scottsdale eyesore may finally be rebuilt

Program helps finance Phoenix-area homes

The dream of homeownership has been brought within reach of many lower-income Valley residents by a local finance program that also stabilizes neighborhoods hurt by the recession and the housing-market crash.

More than 1,500 low- to middle-income residents and veterans have bought houses through the Home in Five Advantage Program since it began in September 2012.

The program, run through the Industrial Development Authority of Phoenix and and the Industrial Development Authority of Maricopa County, has helped homeowners obtain more than $244 million in 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with a competitive mortgage-loan interest rate. The program helps homeowners obtain certain types of federally backed loans to purchase any home within Maricopa County — from Waddell to Queen Creek.

Read more...Program helps finance Phoenix-area homes

Famed architect Bruder takes on Scottsdale temple’s ‘oasis’ project

Will Bruder

World-renowned Phoenix architect Will Bruder is doing a mitzvah for the children and families of Temple Kol Ami in Scottsdale. Bruder, known for his innovative designs of stunning public spaces such as the Phoenix Public Library, also is the architect of Temple Kol Ami.

“I called Will as a courtesy,” said Michael Rosenthal, administrator of Kol Ami. “I wanted to give him a heads up on our plans to install a splash pad, and ask him if he thought we were locating it in a good place.”

Instead of answering the question, Bruder replied,” I would like to design the splash pad for you.”

Read more...Famed architect Bruder takes on Scottsdale temple’s ‘oasis’ project

Shea offers 3-D home design tool for buyers

Shea Homes is trying to take shopping for a new house 3-D, but buyers won’t need the special glasses.

The homebuilder has a patent-pending process that almost lets prospective buyers design their own houses. Shea3D allows customers to choose from three main living spaces — entertainment-centric, kitchen-centric, or outdoor-centric — and then add interchangeable spaces for their home to each one.

The builder launched the home-design tool in Gilbert’s Marbella Vineyards community last fall. Shea recently began offering its 3D design at new subdivisions called Inspire and Intrigue in Surprise’s Greer Ranch community. The builder soon plans to announce a Shea3D community in San Tan Valley’s Encanterra Country Club.

Read more...Shea offers 3-D home design tool for buyers

Maricopa County approves Vista Verde development

Vista Verde

Developers have revived a plan for Vista Verde after the recession nearly doomed the development north of the golf communities of Rio Verde and Tonto Verde in northeastern Maricopa County.

The plan, which includes an increase in density from one dwelling unit per acre to 1.7, won the approval of the County Board of Supervisors earlier this week despite vigorous opposition from property owners to the west.

Those property owners, who live in the Rio Verde Foothills area and are members of the Rio Verde Horseman’s Association, claim additional traffic and water use from wells along the Verde River will have a detrimental effect on their properties.

Read more...Maricopa County approves Vista Verde development

Hotel Monroe to be converted in time for the 2015 Super Bowl

Hotel Monroe

An iconic building in downtown Phoenix that has sat vacant for more than two decades is about to get a $40 million makeover, according to its new owners. Movie buffs might recognize the mid-rise tower from the opening scenes of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

The Art Deco building, known as Hotel Monroe, is scheduled to open as a boutique Hilton or Marriott hotel in time for Super Bowl XLIX, which will be played in Glendale on Feb. 1. Minneapolis-based CSM Lodging paid $7.85 million for the 12-story tower in late December.

Read more...Hotel Monroe to be converted in time for the 2015 Super Bowl

With fewer foreclosures in Valley, some investors leave the market

The house-flipping frenzy is over in metro Phoenix, though a few investors are still able to make it work if they can find the right house.

The dramatic drop in foreclosures across the Valley means there are few houses to be bought cheaply, fixed up and resold quickly for a profit.

“There was the point where we had 11,000 foreclosures in one month,” said Marty Boardman, a real-estate business owner who began investing in Valley houses in 2002. “From what I understand, today the average is around 500 or 600.”

Read more...With fewer foreclosures in Valley, some investors leave the market

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rethinking forecasts on interest rate hikes


Whoa. Maybe we got a bit ahead of ourselves on those rising interest-rate forecasts.

If there was one economic prediction last year that seemed like a slam dunk, it was that interest rates would start climbing, perhaps relentlessly. Many types of rates, such as those on Treasury bills, have fallen so close to zero that they couldn’t go much lower. With the economy perking up and the Federal Reserve intending to scale back on its stimulus efforts, it seemed that higher rates were all but inevitable.

For a while last year, that scenario did unfold. Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, for example, jumped from about 3.35 percent at the end of 2012 to 4.5 percent by September 2013.

Read more...Rethinking forecasts on interest rate hikes

Meritage Homes reports stronger profit in 2013 despite 4Q slowdown

Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE:MTH) capped off 2013 with strong home closing revenue and profit, but like its peers nationwide saw a slowdown in orders that has stretched into 2014.

In its earnings report released Wednesday, the Scottsdale-based home builder showed closing revenue of $533.5 million for the fourth quarter and $1.78 billion for all of 2013, up 47 percent and 51 percent year-over-year, respectively. Year-end profit — $124.46 million — was up 18 percent over 2012.

Read more...Meritage Homes reports stronger profit in 2013 despite 4Q slowdow

GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons to buy Scottsdale parcel

Golf course-community developer Lyle Anderson has sold a prime piece of Scottsdale land to GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons.

The site, at Dynamite Road and 118th Street, no longer will be developed into the Sierra Reserve community Anderson had planned.

Details about Parsons’ plans for the property are likely to be announced later today. He is expected to use the 223 acres of land to expand and update his Scottsdale National Golf Club.

Read more...GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons to buy Scottsdale parcel

Peoria, non-profit team to rehab vacant downtown shopping centers

Zócalo Mall

Peoria has partnered with non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa Inc. to try to revitalize two long-vacant shopping centers in its downtown.

The two will work together to identify potential redevelopment and revitalization projects at the Peoria Town Center, near 83rd and Peoria avenues, and Adobe Plaza, near Grand and 84th avenues, which used to house a Smitty’s grocery store and a restaurant.

Economic Services Development Director Scott Whyte said the memorandum of understanding, which the City Council unanimously approved Jan. 21, lays the framework for the city and non-profit to evaluate potential projects that could bring new life to the areas that city leaders long have struggled to revive. The strip malls along Grand Avenue have seen owners and tenants come and go over the years.

Read more...Peoria, non-profit team to rehab vacant downtown shopping centers

Glendale Westgate spaces go to Lockheed Martin, 3 others

 Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin, maker of the latest fighter jet coming to Luke Air Force Base, landed office space in the Westgate Entertainment District, along with three other new businesses.

The others include Harvard Drug Group, Mattamy Homes and Westgate Nails & Spa.

Lockheed Martin, a Maryland-based Fortune 100 company, will open its 2,034-square-foot office in March. The firm employs 116,000 people worldwide in the global security and aerospace industries.

In Texas, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. manufactures the F-35 Lightning II. Luke will serve as a training base for 144 of the stealth jets. The jets are billed as the military’s next generation of fighter jets, stealthier than their predecessors.

Read more...Glendale Westgate spaces go to Lockheed Martin, 3 others

Gilbert leads Valley in new-home permits for 2013

 09251600ks Higley bond override election

Gilbert once again led all Valley municipalities in new-home permits in 2013, the third consecutive year the town has ranked as the region’s busiest homebuilding hot spot, according to data acquired by The Republic.

The fast-growing community issued 1,927 single-family home permits last year, outpacing much-larger Phoenix and totaling more than Mesa and Chandler combined, data show.

Such numbers provide statistical evidence of a reality many Gilbert residents are witnessing on a daily basis as new master-planned communities and infill developments bring thousands of people to the area.

Read more...Gilbert leads Valley in new-home permits for 2013

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Vacant zombie foreclosures still weighing on some housing markets

foreclosure decline

RealtyTrac reported Thursday that foreclosure filings fell 27% year-over-year in February to a new seven-year low, indicating that the pace of filings have returned to normal levels since the foreclosure crisis. However, lingering problems loom.

Vacated by the owner and left unattended, nearly 152,000 "zombie foreclosures" are weighing on home values in states like Florida, Illinois and New York, RealtyTrac said. That's roughly 21% of all homes in the foreclosure process.
On average, these homes have been going through the foreclosure process for 1,031 days -- or nearly three years.

Read more...Vacant zombie foreclosures still weighing on some housing markets

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Are fixer-uppers worth the work?

Real-estate agents say many buyers have trouble seeing the potential in a fixer-upper.

Those who can see the possibilities in a home that needs to be updated can fall in love with its potentially lower price tag. But buyers should make sure they know exactly what they’re getting into before buying a fixer-upper.

It may not be as simple as adding fresh paint or glossy new countertops.

John O’Hagan, a Phoenix real-estate agent, says he typically sits down with clients before touring homes to talk about easy fixes vs. things that could be prohibitively expensive or unsafe.

“I think setting expectations with your clients is the most important relationship builder,” he says, adding he also uses that meeting to determine how much work the buyers are willing to do.

Read more...Are fixer-uppers worth the work?

Phoenix-area housing market tilts in favor of buyers

The number of houses for sale in metro Phoenix has climbed almost 40 percent in the past year. With many more properties from which to choose, the market is tilting away from sellers toward people looking to buy.

The entire region can’t yet be called a buyer’s market, but certain areas, including the northwest Valley and Pinal County, have enough houses listed for sale to exceed demand.

The nearly 72 percent increase in home prices since August 2011, to $199,000 from $116,000, is one key reason more homeowners are looking to sell. And the sprouting of for-sale signs can be just the motivation some potential buyers need.

Read more...Phoenix-area housing market tilts in favor of buyers

‘Little progress’ seen in metro Phoenix's new-home building

Higher prices, along with several other factors, are among the challenges to the recovery of metro Phoenix’s new-home market.

The median existing home price in the region is now $178,000, compared with the new-home median price of $301,904, according to RL Brown Reports.

The gap isn’t expected to shrink anytime soon, said real-estate analyst RL Brown during his annual housing forecast on Thursday.

Last year, 12,785 new-home permits were issued Valley-wide, up from 11,615 in 2012. But the figure was well below the 14,000 to 16,000 projected earlier last year for 2013.

Read more...‘Little progress’ seen in metro Phoenix's new-home building

2 new buildings in the works as SkySong complex grows in Scottsdale


The new year is shaping up to be a big one for SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, on the McDowell Road corridor.

Construction is progressing on SkySong III, a 145,000-square-foot building that will be located along SkySong Boulevard, just southwest of the complex’s signature shade structure. The $32 million building will be ready for occupancy in August.

In addition, SkySong VI, also four stories, is expected to be under construction before the end of the year.

Read more...2 new buildings in the works as SkySong complex grows in Scottsdale

Old Phoenix hotel leaves historic mark

The Barrister Place building in downtown Phoenix has a storied past, opening in 1915 as the tallest building in the state and, later, playing a cameo as a backdrop to the 1960 horror movie “Psycho.”

But despite the building’s unique status, Phoenix has struggled to find a feasible use for the structure, a six-story brick-and-concrete building on Central Avenue and Jefferson Street.

It has sat vacant for more than three years after the city, which owns the building, shuttered it.

Read more...Old Phoenix hotel leaves historic mark

Demolition underway at Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley - Phoenix Business Journal

Demolition takes place Feb. 5, 2014 of what was the Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley. Here, the porte-cochère comes down. It was the roofed
structure covering the driveway at the entrance to the lobby.

Demolition has finally commenced at the Mountain Shadows Resort, a Paradise Valley landmark that was a popular hangout for locals and celebrities before shutting down nearly a decade ago.

The move is the first tangible step toward the long-awaited redevelopment of the property, which until recently has been the center of contentious debate amongst the town, surrounding residents and the property owner.

Read more...Demolition underway at Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise Valley - Phoenix Business Journal

Bank Economists See Stronger Economic Growth in 2014


WASHINGTON—2014 will be a breakout year for the U.S. economy as private-sector demand accelerates and fiscal drag eases, according to the Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association.

According to the committee, which includes 13 chief economists from among the largest banks in North America, inflation-adjusted GDP growth for 2014 will be 3.0 percent, compared to a 2.3 percent annual average since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009 and the post-recession high of 2.8 percent in 2010.

"This will be the strongest economic growth since the expansion began in 2009, and the committee’s strongest forecast since 2005,” Christopher Low, chairman of the group and chief economist of First Horizon National Corp's FTN Financial, said. "We expect faster growth in business investment and stronger job creation as the economy improves."

Read more...Bank Economists See Stronger Economic Growth in 2014

Downtown Scottsdale sees boom in multifamily housing

Broadstone Waterfront

A growing number of people are going to be calling downtown Scottsdale home in 2014 and beyond with the completion of numerous multifamily projects.

The area is going to see even more towering cranes this year as ongoing apartment projects progress and construction starts on new ones. The most striking construction site has been Alliance Residential Co.’s Broadstone Waterfront, a 259-unit high-end apartment complex with 8,000 square feet of restaurant space along Marshall Way.

Read more...Downtown Scottsdale sees boom in multifamily housing

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Housing Market With Nowhere to Go (but Up) -

Market Street in San Francisco, a stretch of town that Twitter and other tech companies have called home.

SAN FRANCISCO — Not long ago the pink house at 1829 Church Street, in the Glen Park neighborhood here, hit the market for $895,000.

It sold for $1.425 million — $530,000 over the asking price — in less than two weeks.

The story of this fixer-upper, with three bedrooms, two baths, linoleum floors and an Eisenhower-era kitchen, is in some ways the story of the moment in the city, where longtime residents complain that Silicon Valley money is basically ruining the place for everyone else.

Read more...The Housing Market With Nowhere to Go (but Up) -

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Investment group paying $118 mil in Pinal land sale

Pinal Land Holdings, a newly formed investment group, is paying $118 million for 11,400 acres in Coolidge and Eloy. Land analysts say development of the property, which was purchased from the city of Mesa, is a key step in connecting metro Phoenix to the southern reaches of Pinal County.

Mesa bought the land in 1985 for $30 million to ensure it had water for future growth. Proceeds from the land sale will allow Mesa to pay for the Chicago Cubs spring training facility it’s currently developing.

Pinal Land Holdings was formed to make the purchase, but it doesn’t represent new players in Arizona real estate. The principals of the Scottsdale-based company have invested in other projects, including the Central Arizona Commerce Center in Case Grande, since 2005.

Read more...Investment group paying $118 mil in Pinal land sale

Bank of America set for growth, CEO says during Chandler stop

010620140345RW                 PNI BofA Moynihan interview 0112

As the economy perks up and the housing market recovers, executives at the nation’s biggest banks are spending more time looking through the windshield rather than glancing backward in the mirror.

Problems from the financial crisis, recession and mortgage meltdown are beginning to recede in the distance, and bankers are paying more attention to growth opportunities on the horizon ahead.

The costs and risks tied to bad loans are “winding down,” said Brian Moynihan, the 54-year-old chief executive officer at Bank of America, during a recent stop in the Valley, where he visited local facilities. “What dominates the company over the next couple of years is the core business.”

Read more...Bank of America set for growth, CEO says during Chandler stop

A lifeline for homeowners

His isn’t a story that most would care to share.

However, Housing Angels founder Dave Dziedzic isn’t shy when it comes to talking about how his personal tragedy helped create not only his company but also helped give hope and stability to those who face losing their potentially most valuable asset.

Dziedzic’s Scottsdale-based business brings homeowners facing foreclosures together with investors looking to generate cash. The result: Families aren’t displaced and are able to lease their homes from “angel” investors, with an option to buy back their home after a few years. In turn, investors are able to make money on their investment through rent and the sale of the home.

Read more...A lifeline for homeowners

Phoenix-area bankruptcy filings lowest since 2008


With the jobless rate inching lower and the economy showing recent signs of life, Phoenix-area bankruptcies ended 2013 with their best showing since mid-2008.

New filings dipped to 1,042 in December, the lowest total in 67 months, since May 2008, when the recession was building up steam.

The latest tally represented a drop of 11.4 percent from December 2012, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Phoenix. For all of 2013, the 16,425 filings last year were down 18.5 percent from 20,156 in 2012.

Read more...Phoenix-area bankruptcy filings lowest since 2008

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